Dr. Richard is an independent investigator in the Infectious and Immune Diseases Research Axis of the Centre de recherche du CHU de Québec-Laval University, and an associate professor at the department of Microbiology-Infectious Diseases and Immunology of Laval University’s Faculty of Medicine.

His work focuses on malaria, one of the world’s most common infectious diseases, with approximately 300 million cases each year and 500,000 deaths, and thus represents one of the most devastating global public health problems. The lack of an effective vaccine, the emergence of resistance to first-line drugs like chloroquine and antifolates, and recent reports of clinical cases of reduced susceptibility to artemisinine in Cambodia, combined with the small number of suitable new drugs against the malaria parasite, demonstrate the urgent need for the development and implementation of novel intervention strategies in the form of drugs, vector control measures, and an effective vaccine. Indeed, if the trend in malaria prevalence stays on its current upward course, the death rate could double in the next 20 years.

Understanding red blood cell invasion mechanisms by the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum

Invasion of a red blood cell by Plasmodium falciparum merozoites is an essential step in the malaria lifecycle and host response to merozoite antigens are an important component of human malarial immunity. Consequently, the molecular players involved in erythrocyte invasion are key targets for both therapeutic and vaccine-based strategies to block parasite development. Several of these invasion proteins are stored in the apical complex of the merozoite, a structure containing secretory organelles called dense granules, micronemes and rhoptries, and are released at different times during invasion. Because of its essential role, interfering with the generation of the apical complex represents a very attractive target for the design of a new kind of antimalarial. Our studies focus on trying to understand how the parasite directs proteins to the different structures of the apical complex. Understanding this complex process will likely provide a wealth of new targets for the development of strategies to block apical complex generation and to prevent malaria pathogenesis.

Using metabolomics paired with machine learning to identify modes of action of drugs

To sustain the critical research and development process, earlier compound attrition and shorter time-to market are key requirements to help bring cost savings and recover revenue, which are crucial steps in drug development. Integrating the determination of the modes of action of lead compounds in the drug development pipeline is recognized as a critical part in reaching these goals. In collaboration with Dr. Jacques Corbeil from the Centre de recherche du CHU de Québec-Laval University, and Dr François Laviolette from Laval University’s Computer Sciences Department, we use an innovative approach for drug profiling, based on high-throughput mass spectrometry and new machine learning algorithms to acquire and analyze metabolomic spectra to a depth, cost and scale that has never before been achieved.

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Ayotte Y, Bernet E, Bilodeau F, Cimino M, Gagnon D, Lebughe M, Mistretta M, Ogadinma P, Ouali SL, Sow AA, Chatel-Chaix L, Descoteaux A, Manina G, Richard D, Veyrier F, LaPlante SR

Fragment-Based Phenotypic Lead Discovery To Identify New Drug Seeds That Target Infectious Diseases.

Journal Article

ACS Chem Biol, 16 (11), 2021.

Abstract | Links:

Berube C, Borgia A, Gagnon D, Mukherjee A, Richard D, Voyer N

Total Synthesis and Antimalarial Activity of Dominicin, a Cyclic Octapeptide from a Marine Sponge.

Journal Article

J Nat Prod, 83 (6), 2020.

Abstract | Links:

Brochu F, Plante PL, Drouin A, Gagnon D, Richard D, Durocher F, Diorio C, Marchand M, Corbeil J, Laviolette F

Mass spectra alignment using virtual lock-masses.

Journal Article

Sci Rep, 9 (1), 2019.

Abstract | Links:

Berube C, Gagnon D, Borgia A, Richard D, Voyer N

Total synthesis and antimalarial activity of mortiamides A-D.

Journal Article

Chem Commun (Camb), 55 (52), 2019.

Abstract | Links:

Ebrahimzadeh Z, Mukherjee A, Crochetiere ME, Sergerie A, Amiar S, Thompson LA, Gagnon D, Gaumond D, Stahelin RV, Dacks JB, Richard D

A pan-apicomplexan phosphoinositide-binding protein acts in malarial microneme exocytosis.

Journal Article

EMBO Rep, 20 (6), 2019.

Abstract | Links:

Mukorako P, Lopez C, Baraboi ED, Roy MC, Plamondon J, Lemoine N, Biertho L, Varin TV, Marette A, Richard D

Alterations of Gut Microbiota After Biliopancreatic Diversion with Duodenal Switch in Wistar Rats.

Journal Article

Obes Surg, 29 (9), 2019.

Abstract | Links:

Hallee S, Boddey JA, Cowman AF, Richard D

Evidence that the Protein Sortilin Potentially Acts as an Escorter for the Trafficking of the Rhoptry-Associated Membrane Antigen to the Rhoptries.

Journal Article

mSphere, 3 (1), 2018.

Abstract | Links:

Hallee S, Counihan NA, Matthews K, de Koning-Ward TF, Richard D

The malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum Sortilin is essential for merozoite formation and apical complex biogenesis.

Journal Article

Cell Microbiol, 20 (8), 2018.

Abstract | Links:

Hallee S, Theriault C, Gagnon D, Kehrer J, Frischknecht F, Mair GR, Richard D

Identification of a Golgi apparatus protein complex important for the asexual erythrocytic cycle of the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum.

Journal Article

Cell Microbiol, 20 (8), 2018.

Abstract | Links:

Ebrahimzadeh Z, Mukherjee A, Richard D

A map of the subcellular distribution of phosphoinositides in the erythrocytic cycle of the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum.

Journal Article

Int J Parasitol, 48 (1), 2018.

Abstract | Links:

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Active projects

  • Dissecting mechanisms of cell division by the malaria parasite, from 2018-04-01 to 2023-03-31
  • Élucidation des mécanismes contrôlant le trafic des protéines vers le complexe apicale du parasite de la malaria Plasmodium falciparum, from 2021-07-01 to 2024-06-30
  • Exploring the role of phosphoinositides in the trafficking of proteins to the apical complex in the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum, from 2019-04-01 to 2024-03-31

Recently finished projects

  • 3.2 Comprehensive environmental monitoring and valorisation: From molecules to microorganisms, from 2016-04-01 to 2020-03-31
  • Centre de recherche sur les interactions hôte-parasite (CRIHP), from 2015-04-01 to 2021-03-31
  • Élucidation des mécanismes contrôlant le trafic des protéines vers le complexe apical du parasite de la malaria Plasmodium falciparum, from 2018-07-01 to 2020-06-30
Data provided by the Université Laval research projects registery